Unemployment rates in East Central Illinois fell in September, not only from August but also from a year earlier.
Champaign County's unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September, down from 8.9 percent in August.
Meanwhile, Vermilion County's rate dipped to 10 percent, down from 11 percent in August.
The same was true of the other nine counties in East Central Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
Here are the September rates for those counties and how they changed from August:
— Coles, 8.7, down from 9.9.
— DeWitt, 7.6, down from 8.1.
— Douglas, 7.4, down from 8.4.
— Edgar, 9.1, down from 9.7.
— Ford, 7.7, down from 9.
— Iroquois, 7.6, down from 8.4.
— McLean, 6.7, down from 7.3.
— Moultrie, 6.8, down from 7.6.
— Piatt, 6.9, down from 8.
The figures aren't seasonally adjusted, so August and September rates are not directly comparable.
But the September rates for every county were lower than the rates from September 2011 — and in the cases of Douglas, Piatt and Iroquois counties, at least a full percentage point lower.
Despite the drops, there were a few troubling statistics. Even though the number of unemployed people has been dropping, the number of employed people also has been dropping.
In September, Champaign County had 7,841 people out of work and looking for a job. Meanwhile, 92,957 people were employed.
But the number of employed people was down from past Septembers — 93,189 in 2011; 96,151 in 2010; and 96,741 in 2009.
The same was true in Vermilion County, where 3,565 people were out of work and looking for a job in September and 31,988 were employed.
The number of employed was down from 32,518 in September 2011; 32,940 in September 2010; and 32,662 in September 2009.
Non-farm employment in both the Champaign-Urbana and Danville metropolitan areas was lower than last September, according to the department.
In the Champaign-Urbana metro area, there were 100 fewer non-farm jobs than a year earlier, and in the Danville area, there were 600 fewer jobs.
Both areas showed drops in government employment. The sector showing the biggest year-to-year gain in Champaign County was leisure-hospitality, while Vermilion County's biggest gain was in manufacturing.
Among area cities, Champaign had the lowest unemployment rate — 8 percent, down from 9.1 percent in August.
Urbana's rate was 9.1, down from 10.3, while Danville's was 10.7 percent, down from 12.1 percent.
The Champaign-Urbana metro area had the fifth-lowest rate of the 12 metro areas in Illinois, behind the Quad Cities, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and Peoria.
The Danville metro area had the fourth-highest, with Rockford, Kankakee-Bradley and Decatur even higher.
Among Illinois counties, Brown County had the lowest rate, 4.5 percent, followed by Adams at 6 percent and Woodford and Jo Daviess, tied at 6.1 percent.
Montgomery had the highest rate among Illinois counties — 11.4 percent. Others with rates above 11 percent included: Winnebago, Hardin and Franklin, all tied at 11.2 percent; and Pulaski, at 11.1 percent.